This month over on Canadian Beauty Bloggers, the theme is Budget Beauty. Although I obviously like to indulge in higher end purchases, my love for makeup started at the drugstore. I’ve really slowed down on my makeup spending in the past year, but I’m always popping my head into the drugstore aisles just to see what’s new. These days more than ever, there’s some good stuff for great prices (although drugstore prices do seem to be going up). So here’s a collection of some of my tried and true, all time favourite drugstore products.
Sleek Blushes perform so well – they are pigmented and blendable and come in some really gorgeous colours. Flushed, a deep reddish berry, is my favourite at this time of year, but in the summer I always reach for Guipure, a warm pink with gold shimmer. Sleek isn’t available in stores in North America, but they do ship worldwide!
Staying in the UK, Topshop makeup in general has impressed me, but the Glow Highlighter in Polished is one of my favourite makeup products ever. If you’re looking for the perfect pearly, iridescent, slightly unnatural highlighter, this is the one for you. Again, this product can be purchased online!
Rimmel Stay Matte Powder is a staple in my makeup bag; it does the job and it’s dirt cheap. Another boring yet essential product is L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Concealer, which does a remarkably good job at concealing my undereye circles without feeling heavy. It’s good on blemishes in a pinch, too.
I probably don’t need to mention this, but Maybelline Color Tattoos are the drugstore cream shadow, as far as I’m concerned. (I picked up one of the new stick versions and I’m very excited to put it to the test!)
I’ve also probably talked the Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in Silent Treatment to death, but the fact is that it’s the only drugstore powder eyeshadow I ever use. Quality-wise, it far surpasses its $2.99 price point, and that taupe-y purple eyelid colour is one of my favourites of all time. (It’s also a very on-trend colour, which can be yours for the cost of a coffee!)
Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Eye Definer is a great twist-up eyeliner option. It’s easy to use, very pigmented, and stays put as well as anything else I’ve tried. For more colourful options, I love the Annabelle Kohl Eyeliners – for a wooden pencil I find them very smooth, and the colour range is great.
Ahh, I know a thing or two about lip products. The Maybelline Color Sensation Creamy Matte Lipsticks are probably the best matte lip colour I’ve found at the drugstore (perhaps excluding liquid lipsticks), though depending on the shade the Revlon Matte Balms come close. (Sultry is my favourite.) In terms of regular (non-matte) lipsticks, I will adore the Rimmel Lasting Finish By Kate Moss line forever. They’re so comfortable, creamy, and opaque. One of the matte shades is pictured above, and though I do like the matte line I think the regular line (in the black tubes) is superior.
Lip liner-wise, Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner is one of my favourite formulas; I regularly use Red Diva, East End Snob, and Enchantment. (I’ve been through quite a few East End Snobs!) When it comes to UK brands, it doesn’t get much cheaper than Collection, and their Lip Definers are great. If only I could get my hands on more colours while in Canada!
Of course, my makeup collection comprises many more drgustore products than I’ve featured here – but these are the best of the best, in my opinion. NYX has finally come to Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix, so I anticipate a frenzy of testing on my part in the near future. Stay tuned!
You guys are probably bracing yourselves for a flood of these posts, so let’s skip the lengthy introduction and get right into it. These products were not necessarily launched in 2015, but I discovered each of them this year.
LORAC Pro palette
I may just be the last person on earth to discover this palette – but timing notwithstanding, I’m glad I did. From the moment it came into my possession this summer, I’ve scarcely put it down. I firmly believe that it’s the perfect neutral palette – every shade is pigmented and blendable, there’s an even mixture of mattes and shimmers, and there are the standard neutral colours and a few interesting ones. Without a doubt if I could only have one palette it would be this one. My only complaint is that LORAC is so hard to get ahold of in Canada!
MAC 217 brush
I know there are people who don’t think this brush lives up to its hype, but clearly I’m not one of them. I didn’t realize how inadequate the blending brush I had was until this one came into my life this summer. I feel like a good blending brush is one of the most important makeup tools a person can have in their arsenal, and this is the best one I’ve used so far.
Lancôme Hypnôse mascara
I hate when absurdly-priced products are actually good, don’t you? I’m viscerally opposed to paying Sephora prices for mascara; there are good options at the drugstore, samples are aplenty, and I cannot make myself pay $30+ for something that’s supposed to be thrown out after three months. I got this as a gift from my wonderful friend Kristin, and it really is as good as everyone says. You may know from previous mascara reviews that mascara does not excite me; I rarely hate them and I rarely love them. So for this to wow me really means something. It builds volume and length effortlessly and is not the least bit clumpy. It also doesn’t flake or smudge under my eyes at all. Basically, it’s totally worth the hype. Would I pay full price for it? No. Would I spend Shoppers Optimum points to get it again? Yes. Definitely.
Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil
Black eye pencils are obviously a staple in most people’s makeup routines, but it can be difficult to find the right one. I’ve struggled to find one that was opaque, soft, smooth, and that actually stayed put. This one is perfect for tightlining as it absolutely does not transfer onto my lower waterline at all, and it takes forever to fade. The texture is perfect – it glides on comfortably and doesn’t scratch my delicate eyes. And it is truly a rich, opaque black. All in all, this is seriously the perfect black pencil.
NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Cruella
Have you ever tried an oft-talked-about beauty product and thought, “Yep, I get it now”? That was my experience with this lip product. Obviously, most of us North American beauty lovers are now in possession of a mini of it thanks to the Sephora birthday gift – and can I just say, what a great birthday gift it is! 2013 and 2014’s offerings didn’t do much for me, but this one was legitimately great. There is nothing I don’t love about Cruella. The colour is dramatic and beautiful; it glides on so smoothly (and accurately, thanks to the shape of the pencil); it lasts forever. The moment I put it on my lips I thought Where have you been all my life?
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes
I was not a fan of the much-hyped Ambient Lighting Powders, but the blushes are worth every penny of their $41 CAD price tag. Never have I encountered such soft, blendable, long-lasting blushes with the perfect level of pigmentation and the slightly glow-y effect afforded by the swirls of ALPs throughout the pan. I just wish they’d bring out more shades! (Since taking this picture I’ve added another one to my collection, which means there’s only one colour left that I really want. Please expand the line, Hourglass!!!)
This is the most-loved highlighter in my collection; it works so well with my fair, cool skin and is simply gorgeous on its own. It’s pearlescent and ethereal and I will never stop loving it. A makeup product hasn’t excited me this much in ages.
Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream
I purchased this night cream for only £4 – bargain! However, even at its full price of £8, it’s hardly prohibitively expensive. I reviewed it positively about six weeks into using it, and having finished the tub I can say that I would absolutely repurchase it if I could get it here in Canada! My face always felt soft, smooth, supple, and healthy in the mornings when I was using this, which is no small feat considering I’m chronically dry. The smell was also divine. If I make it back to the UK I will be popping into Boots posthaste to get another tub of this!
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum
This serum made such a huge difference when used under my night cream. Whereas most people seem to suffer from oiliness in their T-zone, my nose is absolutely parched and flaky year-round. This serum has been extremely effective at combatting this particular problem, but it’s still a lightweight texture that sinks in instantly. I absolutely adore it and will most likely repurchase it when I run out.
I adore this cleanser. I adore that although it contains oils it’s a creamy texture, meaning it’s not as messy to use as a regular oil. I adore how well it gets my makeup off. I adore that it washes off easily without leaving an oily film on my skin. I adore how supple and hydrated it makes my skin. I adore the smell. It’s the best cleanser I’ve ever used, and I do not say that lightly!
This is another product that I did not want to like on the basis of its price ($46 CAD), but I really do love it. For such a lightweight, unobtrusive texture, it does a great job at keeping my perpetually chapped lips looking and feeling reasonable. It’s effective on its own during the day, and at night I like to seal it in with a layer of Vaseline to trap all that moisture. I always wake up with the softest lips!
I was sceptical about this product’s ability to perform well enough to do something about my KP-ravaged arms and legs considering its thin texture. And while it does sink in quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy or sticky cast, somehow it manages to do to my legs what almost no other body product has.
This sunscreen is the perfect product for a) lazy people who hate spending more than 20 seconds applying sunscreen to their bodies, b) people who hate the greasy feeling most sunscreens leave, or c) all of the above. This sunscreen is singlehandedly responsible for my skin getting not a lick of sun this summer.
L’Occitane Almond Oil
If it looks like I haven’t touched this bottle, it’s because I haven’t! I’ve already used up a mini, and I finally treated myself to a full size bottle the other day. I feel a bit silly dropping $24 on almond oil, but it is that good. I use it to shave my legs, and despite it being on my skin for only a fleeting moment before being washed off, I swear my legs feel amazing straight out of the shower. And you only need the tiniest bit, so $24 CAD goes a long, long way. This is one of those products that is undeniably an indulgence – but it’s one of my favourite indulgences ever.
You guys are probably sick of me talking about how damaged my hair is. I’m stubborn and continue bleaching my roots every few months, and one day my hair will all fall out of my head at once, but that day is being delayed by this hair mask. My hair actually, miraculously, feels smooth, soft, and alive when I use this (which is every time I wash my hair, because otherwise I can’t run a brush through it). It’s nothing short of a miracle. And at only $10 for a 500mL tub, I don’t even feel bad buying it.
2015 was a great year in terms of beauty discoveries – I found some fun things as well as some things that have become can’t-live-without-it, would-follow-it-into-hell staples in my beauty stash. Not too bad!
I’m working non-stop this month (ah, retail in December), so I’m not sure if I’ll have another post for you guys before 2016. In the event that this is my last post of 2015, I hope your holidays are relaxing and fun and your new year brings you only good things!
I know it feels like fall has just arrived in a lot of places, but here in Montreal winter could come at any moment. We haven’t had real snow yet, just a tiny bit that melts as soon as it hits the ground, but it’s imminent. I suppose these are my fall favourites, but let’s call them cold weather favourites as most of them will transition well into winter.
theBalm Balm Jovi Palette
This palette has been in my collection for years and is tragically neglected, so I’ve been making a point of pulling it out these past few weeks. It contains some perfect fall shades, and the shadows are generally of a great quality – pigmented and blendable. A bunch of these shadows make for beautiful one-shadow looks, a few of which you’ll see in an upcoming post.
A few of my favourite shades: Alice Copper, Lead Zeppelin, and Moderato.
Wet N Wild Silent Treatment trio eyelid colour
I predicted this would get a lot of use this fall, and so far I have been correct. It’s one of my favourite eyeshadow colours, period – this shimmery taupe-y purple is just so special and absolutely beautiful on the lids. It’s neutral but still interesting. It’s also gorgeous to work with; it’s so soft and blendable, and true to the colour in the pan. I sneak this into my makeup year-round, but I think it’s especially suited to fall.
Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil
My coworker received this as gratis but gave it to me because she doesn’t like waterproof eyeliner, and wow am I glad. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure! I use this pencil to tightline every day and it lasts all day without transferring to my lower waterline. It’s creamy and does not irritate my eyes whatsoever. On my top lashline, it transfers a bit, but it’s honestly the least transfer I’ve ever experienced from a pencil liner. It’s definitely a pretty penny, but I’d repurchase it for sure. (Also, it has since been sharpened. This picture was taken post-Halloween, when it was used to scribble all over various faces.)
Arbonne Intelligence Lip Treatment*
My lips have never been in better shape and that’s all there is to that. If you’re interested in the full review, I went more into detail in a previous post.
Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry and MAC Lipstick in Rebel
Sultry and Rebel could not be more different if they tried, but I have been wearing both of them non-stop this fall. Sultry is a gorgeous mixture of brown, pink, and red – I never know quite how to describe it. On my colouring, it’s a bit more deep and dramatic, but still on the neutral side of things. It’s the type of colour that goes so well with the rich browns and bronzes of fall. Rebel is obviously a statement shade, and it’s been one of my favourites for ages. It’s the most beautiful, singular magenta, and it’s my favourite lipstick colour ever. It suits this time of year so well, and it basically has not come off my lips in weeks.
Sultry on the left, Rebel on the right. Obviously.
As you may know, I am big on staying hydrated. But when it gets colder, drinking a bottle of cold water is often the last thing I want to do. However, it’s tedious to continually make small cups of tea that amount to tiny volumes of water. Remembering the big mug I had in Glasgow last year (purchased from Primark, in case anyone is on the hunt), I hit up Dollarama to replace that sucker. This mug holds 500mL of tea, and it keeps me very, very warm. I am in love with it.
(Also, don’t mind Justin Trudeau staring at you. It’s a long story that involves cutting a 5 foot campaign sign down off a post at 3am and bringing it into our home. Okay, that’s the story. It’s actually pretty short.)
H&M Blanket Scarf
I’m pretty sure that whoever invented blanket scarves was Canadian, because there is nothing more suited to this nation. I think the best coping mechanism for a Canadian winter is to just encase yourself in as many textiles as possible. And also to cry at the fact that the sun goes down at 4:30pm and it’s -40 degrees outside. Blanket scarves are, obviously, perfect for outdoors, but they are also extremely versatile when inside. Mine basically has not left my body since I purchased it. Multiple times, I have found myself on my sofa, nodding off after 17 hours of readings, and covered myself with the scarf and had a very warm and comfortable nap. And there is just something very, very appealing about literally wearing a blanket outside.
Zara Glitter Boots
Just look at these boots and try to tell me that they aren’t the answer to every possible question or problem life could ever come up with. They are perfect. Granted, they were me settling because I can’t afford the Saint Laurent version that Harry Styles wore in SNL in December 2013, but they’ll do.
These are like four billion dollars.
It seems that I am a fan of weird foreign 1960s films, a fact about myself which I kind of hate. But there’s no denying it – my favourite film of all time is Daisies, a Czech new wave film.
I watched Theorem for my Italian cinema class, and I was blown away by it. Given that it’s an art house film, it’s the type of thing that must be watched to be understood. The plot is very simple: an Italian bourgeois family is mysteriously visited by a stranger, who sleeps with each of them and who leaves abruptly. His departure makes each family member realize that there is a massive void in their bourgeois existence. It doesn’t sound like anything special, but it’s a beautiful film. There’s hardly any dialogue; most of it just music and images. Definitely the best thing I’ve watched for school this semester.
Baking and Cooking
I know I’m not the only one who always develops a time-consuming interest at the end of the semester, as a distraction from the piles of work I have to do. This semester I have been very into baking, which is productive and delicious enough that I can’t be too mad about it. My roommate and I have also instituted weekly Adult Nights where we cook a real meal together, and although I normally dislike cooking I always have such a good time when we cook together. Here are some of the creations to come out of my kitchen recently…
I’ve made four pies so far and I have finally perfected a flaky, wonderful crust. Pictured is pumpkin pie with a brown sugar pecan glaze.
Katie and I made white pizza last night and it was AMAZING! The thin crust recipe we used was perfect, and our toppings of garlic, onion, mushroom, broccoli, and chicken were absolutely delicious. We still have 4 slices leftover, so that’s a few dinners sorted…
At 9pm the other day I got a bee in my bonnet about bagels, and so I made some! It took me about two hours, but it was worth it. They’re not quite as good as St. Viateur, but I’m really impressed with the recipe.
Next up: scones.
Those are my recent favourites – a bunch of stuff that has been keeping me warm, inside and out, in the increasingly cold weather.
Product marked with an asterisk was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions remain my own.